Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tomato Day

Last batch a-steamin'
The weather is cooling, which means that it's now possible to spend a day in the kitchen, with steam coming up everywhere, without making the two top floors of the house unlivable.  And as I like to can in big groups and get it over with*, today was the day to can up the 50-some pounds of tomatoes I gathered over the summer.

Now, you would think that scalding and then cooling and then peeling 50# of tomatoes would be an enormous pain in the rear. And you would be right. The cool water never stays cool and so you have to keep adding ice, and the hot water never stays hot so you have to wait after every load, and the scalded tomatoes are hot enough to burn your hands but seemingly not hot enough to allow a good peel.  It's a huge pain every time. Which is why even though that's how garden tomatoes are "supposed" to be processed, that's not the way I do them.  There's a much easier way: freeze them first.

All through the summer, as tomatoes come off the vine, every one that cannot be eaten fresh - which is 90% of them- gets dropped in the freezer. Once it's frozen, it gets put in a 1-gallon freezer bag.  Once the bag is full, it gets moved to the chest freezer downstairs until this special day.

Then when it's time to make salsa and spaghetti sauce, I bring all the bags up and spread the frozen tomatoes all over the counter. When the "frost" melts, the tomato is about 1/4 thawed - mushy on the outside but still kind of frozen on the inside. Time to core it and slide the skin off. Unlike scalded tomatoes, the skin usually comes off in one piece. Then I chop it up, and since the tomato is still mostly frozen, the juice doesn't get all over the place, either.  Once I have a pot full, it's time to get the blender or the mix or whatever I'll be using to make whatever I'm making.

Today it was a case + of pasta sauce and two cases of salsa. That should last a year, which is a good thing. Because not only am I out of tomatoes, with all the pear and applesauce canning Rogue has been doing, I'm out of pint jars as well.

Of course, I could always go buy more. First world problems, FTW.

Enjoy them while they last.

* unlike the lovely and gracious Rogus who, due to her other, louder responsibilities, prefers more and smaller batches.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

They're called 'analysts'

God doesn't play dice with the universe
because that's where they pull their numbers from:
Top bank analysts claim there’s a 50% chance our world is a computer simulation and we're all plugged into a Matrix-style virtual reality.
And they also reckon if it's true - then there's no way we'll ever find out about it.
The Bank of America's Merrill Lynch made the astonishing claim in a research note citing comments by top scientists, astrophysicists and philosophers.
I suppose if you reduce the options of any theory being true to a binary, and have absolutely no choice but to choose one at random, then a 50% chance is as good a number as any. That's just the way coin-flipping works.

But any argument based on the possibility that "members of future civilisations could have decided to run a simulation of their ancestors*" - i.e. us - is still bong-resin philosophy, like that one dude in high school who was convinced that our universe is an atom in the hand of a giant somewhere and that therefore his own hand contained millions of universes.  You can't put odds on something for which you could not possibly have any data.

That said, such an idea raises no problem for those of us who believe in a created universe that we only temporarily inhabit. In fact, we are counting on the idea that we individually are only briefly a part of this world, that our true citizenship is elsewhere, and that our king does not rule here but will move us to an eternal home someday.

In that sense, Christians know we are in a 'simulation' - a reality that was created especially for us, is more temporary than us, and is something of a testing ground to see how we react to various stimuli during our time in it. It's not those we created who are running the program, but the One who created us for something much more.

* If we start from the proposal that we are not 'real' but only exist inside a computer simulation, how could we have descendants who created the simulation? The chicken/egg problems are endless.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hillary's Body Double

So much for "sleuths":
Clinton canceled a campaign fundraising trip to California scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in order to rest and recover, but when she appeared smiling and healthy following a visit to her daughter Chelsea’s apartment to rest up on Sunday. Online sleuths found it odd that she was not surrounded by secret service to both protect her and help her in case she fell ill again.
If Hillary cancelled a fundraising trip, then you know her ailment is far more serious than walking pneumonia*. And if she really emerged alone, and walked around alone - as in "the Secret Service was not around" - well, that might just be grist for the conspiracy mill. I even read one wag who noted - probably quite correctly  - that the Secret Service could not guard a fake Hillary. Their absence was therefore proof that we are seeing one.

That said,  Sometimes it helps to take a wider angle:
Here's Hillary being ragdolled into her hearse at 9:30a.  Note the people marked Agent 1 and Agent 2.

Here's Hillary at 1:00p emerging from Chelsea's apartment building:
Pretty sure that's those same two people on the left.

So, why is it that she "appeared" alone in the press pictures?  No doctor, no handler, no SS?  Because it's a managed press event, designed to make her look strong and not at all sick** for the benefit of all you proles.  She got cleaned up, some new makeup, newly-fixed hair, waddled*** out, waved, and waddled away. The very picture of health. Or so you're supposed to believe.

Until next time.

UPDATE: So what is it?

I suspect it's some sort of a neurological attack that a) she can feel coming, and b) lasts less than an hour. When she feels the first tremors, it's time to boogie (or not come back), when it's over, it's over.  Except that it seems to be getting worse. What does that add up to? I have no idea.

* Besides, what kind of a person would go to her grandchildrens' house or hug a young girl while suffering from pneumonia?
** Remember, this was done when the story was still "overheated in the 75 degree morning" and not "pneumonia."
*** Notice her foot placement - wide-set and spread to keep her from shaking/wobbling.  If this is a stunt double, it's a very ill one.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

No iron horse for you

There has long been some doubt about El B's heritage, on both sides.  My mother's father claimed to have been left on the doorstep of a nice French couple in Canada, and the family long wondered if he was part Indian.  My father's father gave up genealogy when it looked like he was getting too close to the reservation*.  So I decided to settle the issue once for all, for 99 measly dollars.

The results are in: Europe 100%

Eastern Europe 29%
Ireland 24%
Western Europe 15%
Great Britain 12%
Scandinavia 7%
Finland/Northwest Russia 5%
Iberian Peninsula 5%
Italy/Greece 3%

The Slavic plurality is no surprise - since Loretta Mary Galinski's family got off the boat from Poland, I figured that number would be high.

Still, there are a couple of surprises:

The Celt overachieves at 24%, since I only knew of one Irish branch and it's about 5 generations back. 

Western Europe underachieves in a big way. Really big. Since Mom's half French and half German** and Dad has French in his line, I expected a number over 50% rather than a sorry little 15%.  Some of the Germanic could have bled over into the Polish, but the French had to be either Normans, refugees from one of the various Irish diasporas, or bleedover Iberians and Latins. Who knows? 

In any case, one legend is laid to rest: old El B is just as Indian as Senator Warren.

* And he gave up his bagpipes 8-tracks once he discovered he was not Scottish.
** Allegedly. There is now some room for discussion.